“I’d rather have a cup of tea than sex.” Boy George
As a child I was guilty of many fixations. At the age of eight, I stared repeatedly at the thighs of a little girl sitting two desks back. This required me turning at an awkward angle, much like you do when you’re backing up a car. The girl eventually reported me, and I was sent to the back of the room to reflect on my behaviour. Since everyone else was facing the blackboard, I realized I could watch that girl’s thighs all afternoon without being caught.
I was happy as a happy lapdog.
I had other pursuits, of course, like watching how girls’ thighs moved up and down on bicycle seats. It might’ve become a permanent pastime if I hadn’t gotten too close and was run over. The girl was very apologetic, and I was apologetic, too. She had wonderful thighs and a good bedside manner.
In my eighth year of school, I sat behind a girl who was already wearing a bra. I spent hours studying it through the back of her white blouse. Eventually I was caught by Miss Abernathy, my teacher. She sent me to the back of the class again. “You’re becoming a dirty-minded boy,” she said.
I actually tried to join the cheerleading squad, but I was still recovering from being run over by a bike. I was a temporary gimp.
I admired Miss Abernathy. She had magnificent thighs. I didn’t tell her that, of course. You don’t go around telling teachers they have magnificent thighs. You’ll end up at the back of the class again. But they were magnificent, especially in those gym skirts she wore when she coached the cheerleaders.
I actually tried out for cheerleading. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from being run over by that girl’s bike. My cartwheel had no pizazz.
From then on, I spent my time understanding the bra. After many hours of staring at the girl’s blouse in front of me, I concluded that bras are deceptively complicated. Without proper instruction, they could easily traumatize a fumbling boy. He might give up entirely and become a biologist.
So I took matters into my own hands, setting up a tent in a field, then inviting the girl sitting in class ahead of me over. I said it was to instruct a group of my friends on the complexities of bras. I thought she’d slap me at first. Then a strange thing happened. She didn’t. She said she’d have to sneak out of the house. Her parents weren’t big on her talking to a tentful of boys about bras.
Anyway, at the given hour, meaning midnight, she appeared, finding us huddled in our sleeping bags. Being a full-fledged dirty-minded boy at this point, I suggested she start by showing us her bra. This she did, sending two boys running home, and two more staring like antelopes.
The girls called her a slut, an uncalled-for insult considering none of us became professional baseball players or biologists.
Word got out the next day that I was giving “bra lessons,” earning me a reputation as a dirty-minded sicko. The following Friday night, my tent was full, and the same girl became something of a den mother. The other girls called her a slut, an uncalled-for insult considering none of us became biologists.
By high school, my attention turned to Playboy magazines, something I’m sure clouded my judgment. I now held girls to a serious level of perfection. The slightest mole or discolouration left me wondering if I needed to move to Chicago. That was where Mr. Hefner lived in a huge mansion with a bed that rose hydraulically to reveal a pool below.
I saw many of the centrefold girls in the pool, and felt intimately close to them after reading their likes and dislikes (most disliked Toledo). This was a nice touch if you were in the pool, and wanted to skip the formalities. I figured everyone at the mansion did, or they wouldn’t get in any swimming at all.
I therefore drafted a template of sorts, asking my dates to fill in their favourite movies, foods and did they like hairy chests? I barely had hair under my arms, so I needed to know. I mean, we couldn’t both have high expectations. We’d be looking each other up and down for hours.
To make a long story short, none of my candidates had the slightest interest in culture or hirsutism. Foods ranged from Fluffernutters to sandwiches cut into little dinosaurs. Under “Where do you want to be in twenty years?” one girl wrote “God, I’ll be thirty-five!” It was a bust, except one respondent who claimed she’d watch any movie if it meant necking in the balcony.
I took her to a movie the following Saturday. We necked all through “The French Connection.” She bit my tongue every time there was a gunshot or someone screamed. By the end, my tongue was in rags. She apologized and I found myself apologizing back, a sure sign it would happen again since we both liked movies with gunshots and screaming.
Girls went braless the way men went shirtless and dogs went leashless.
Fortunately, the Summer of Love was just around the corner, with flashing peace signs, and people back in tents again. Girls went braless the way men went shirtless and dogs went leashless. When I asked one woman why she didn’t wear a bra, she reached in her knapsack and handed me one.”Here,” she said,”you obviously like these things more than I do.”
Well, a gift’s a gift, I suppose, and I appreciated the sentiment, but I wasn’t going to wander around Woodstock with it over my shoulder. Besides, Playboy did a whole thing on Flower Girls. Maybe they were standing by the highway, thumbs out, wearing tight bellbottoms and crisp shirts tied above the waist.
Unfortunately, the only women with their thumbs out hadn’t bathed in days, and I couldn’t look at their unshaved legs without wondering if they spent any time at all reading Playboy.
When disco hit, the clothes, the hair, and kaleidoscope lights were everything I could hope for. “The Freak” allowed me to dry hump virtual strangers. “The Bump” allowed me to hip check the offended ones and find others.
The discos themselves held a vast profusion of slit-up-the-side dresses. Studio 54 looked like a leg convention. I was back into thighs again.
By then, her make-up was down around her chin and her hair had the bounce of old pound cake.
Disco-trekking was my Friday night obsession, except you couldn’t just drag someone home. First she had to dance to Barry White, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Donna Summer. This could go on for hours. By the time she said “Let’s go,” her hair had the bounce of old pound cake.
Worse than that, there was no “free love” anymore. Everyone worried about communicable diseases. If you didn’t have a condom, your chances of getting any were essentially nil. Even if you did have a condom, your chances were still pretty slim. I kept a condom in my back pocket for three months once. By the time I got a chance to use the stupid thing, it was as hard as a poker chip.
Everyone got angry after that. People stuck safety pins in their noses, and punk music made you feel like you’d thrown up in your shoes. Nobody seemed to care about sex anymore. Madonna did a photo book. It came across as phoney and staged…much like Studio 54. You started to wonder if anyone cared what they did at five in the morning, stumbling out of cabs, hoping Annie Leibovitz hadn’t captured anything too compromising.
Everything was there, including embarrassing pictures of models caught without make-up, and stars with their stomachs hanging out. Images were shattered daily.
Between AIDS scares and punk and people shoving anything up their noses, nobody paid much attention to Madonna wearing a nuclear bra (which I could’ve had off in seconds based on my grade school tent training).
But it was old hat and hardly worth the trouble. Besides, we now had social media, and what we couldn’t get on the street, we found online. Everything was there, including embarrassing pictures of models caught without make-up, and stars with their stomachs hanging out. Images were shattered daily.
If you were looking for sexual stimulation, you went to PornHub. Then you wished you hadn’t. Remember hearing about plastic bottles forming islands the size of Great Britain in the Pacific? That was nothing compared to what was going in women’s chests. Then lips grew, asses grew, rap encouraged every pound like we didn’t have enough “milkshakes in the yard.”
It didn’t pay to be dirty-minded anymore. Nobody had the heart for it. Once Snoop Dog had naked women doing the weather, it was like watching old Vaudevillians telling bad jokes and burlesques swinging their pasties.
If we felt unfulfilled, it wasn’t the sex, or lack of sex. It was knowing we’d trading the “real thing” for fantasies like Game of Thrones, and all the larger-than-life things you could watch without getting off the couch.
Then—get this irony—a pandemic comes along and everyone’s complaining about their civil liberties. Did it matter that we hadn’t been out in days, or thought of anything in days, or even imagined sex in days (maybe Melisandre, but, wow, once you saw her real age, huh?)
The Sexual Revolution doesn’t matter anymore. All we can do now is hope we don’t end up like the song “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon.”
In other words, being dirty-minded today is almost a cliché. We’re done with it. The Sexual Revolution doesn’t matter anymore. All we can do now is hope we don’t end up like the song “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon.”
“Arms that can only lift a spoon, everyone’s gone to the moon.”
If Elon Musk has his way, that might be our future. We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe spoon-lifting is our last act before we become human Jello. Either that or, as the song says, “Long time ago, life had begun, everyone looked to the sun.”
Then we’ll be human Jello shots. Again, who knows?
Robert Cormack is a novelist, satirist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive) is available through Skyhorse Press. You can read Robert’s other articles and stories at robertcormack.net